El Segundo Amateur Radio Group (ESARG) - FCC Call Sign "WB6VMV"
The City of El Segundo has maintained a "ham" radio group for over four decades. The City is dependent on its dedicated "hams" to ensure reliable communication during an emergency. If public safety radio should fail for any reason, amateur radio can step in and establish communication using its dedicated repeater located centrally within the El Segundo city limits. The El Segundo RACES station is headquartered in the city's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the El Segundo Police facility. The group of volunteers with the support from local business and industry also has built a mobile communications truck that serves as a command and coordination vehicle with a wide variety of amateur and public safety radios.
Founded in 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a public service provided by our volunteer communications group in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the community they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation is different, the common thread is communications.
RACES and Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) volunteers have provided assistance during disasters nationwide and around the world.
The ESARG volunteers are partners with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and are able to support CERT members in the field once the training requirements are met.
How to Join
You can join the El Segundo Amateur Radio Group if you currently hold a valid FCC issued Amateur Radio License and have an interest in serving the community during times of emergency, and can respond as needed when requested by the city.
You will need to submit an application with the City of El Segundo and register as a Disaster Service Worker Volunteer. You may be required to complete a background investigation and take an oath to support the City of El Segundo during an emergency.
Ham Radio or Amateur Radio has it roots dating back to the early 1900's.
While ham radio may seem like child's play, it has remained one of the most reliable and important technologies since the invention of the light bulb. Amateur Radio captured the imagination of thousands of ordinary persons who wanted to experiment with this amazing new technology. Until late 1912 there was no licencing or regulation of radio transmitters in the United States, so amateurs -- known informally as "hams" -- were free to set up stations wherever they wished. But with the adoption of licencing, amateur operators faced a crisis, as most were now restricted to transmitting on a wavelength of 200 meters (1500 kilohertz), which had a limited sending range. They successfully organized to overcome this limitation, only to face a second hurdle in April, 1917, when the U.S. government shut down all amateur stations, as the country entered World War One.
Although there was concern that amateur radio stations would not be allowed to return to the airwaves after the war, in 1919 the wartime restrictions were ended. And the next few years would see tremendous strides, as amateurs adopted vacuum-tube technology and began to explore transmitting on shortwave frequencies, which resulted in significant increases in range and reliability.
Amateur radio in emergency services is key to restoring essential public safety communications, providing health and welfare information to the community, plays a vital role in search and rescue efforts, and is used to reunite people who have been separated through adversity.
§97.407 Radio amateur civil emergency service.
(a) No station may transmit in RACES unless it is an FCC-licensed primary, club, or military recreation station and it is certified by a civil defense organization as registered with that organization, or it is an FCC-licensed RACES station. No person may be the control operator of a RACES station, or may be the control operator of an amateur station transmitting in RACES unless that person holds a FCC-issued amateur operator license and is certified by a civil defense organization as enrolled in that organization.(b) The frequency bands and segments and emissions authorized to the control operator are available to stations transmitting communications in RACES on a shared basis with the amateur service. In the event of an emergency which necessitates the invoking of the President's War Emergency Powers under the provisions of Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §606, RACES stations and amateur stations participating in RACES may only transmit on the following frequencies:
(3) The channels at 3.997 and 53.30 MHz may be used in emergency areas when required to make initial contact with a military unit and for communications with military stations on matters requiring coordination.
(c) A RACES station may only communicate with:
(1) Another RACES station;
(2) An amateur station registered with a civil defense organization;
(3) A United States Government station authorized by the responsible agency to communicate with RACES stations;
(4) A station in a service regulated by the FCC whenever such communication is authorized by the FCC.
(d) An amateur station registered with a civil defense organization may only communicate with:
(1) A RACES station licensed to the civil defense organization with which the amateur station is registered;
(2) The following stations upon authorization of the responsible civil defense official for the organization with which the amateur station is registered:
(i) A RACES station licensed to another civil defense organization;
(ii) An amateur station registered with the same or another civil defense organization;
(iii) A United States Government station authorized by the responsible agency to communicate with RACES stations; and
(iv) A station in a service regulated by the FCC whenever such communication is authorized by the FCC.
(e) All communications transmitted in RACES must be specifically authorized by the civil defense organization for the area served. Only civil defense communications of the following types may be transmitted:
(1) Messages concerning impending or actual conditions jeopardizing the public safety, or affecting the national defense or security during periods of local, regional, or national civil emergencies;
(2) Messages directly concerning the immediate safety of life of individuals, the immediate protection of property, maintenance of law and order, alleviation of human suffering and need, and the combating of armed attack or sabotage;
(3) Messages directly concerning the accumulation and dissemination of public information or instructions to the civilian population essential to the activities of the civil defense organization or other authorized governmental or relief agencies; and
(4) Communications for RACES training drills and tests necessary to ensure the establishment and maintenance of orderly and efficient operation of the RACES as ordered by the responsible civil defense organization served. Such drills and tests may not exceed a total time of 1 hour per week. With the approval of the chief officer for emergency planning in the applicable State, Commonwealth, District, or territory, however, such tests and drills may be conducted for a period not to exceed 72 hours no more than twice in any calendar year.